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First time buyers are seeking unconventional ways to get on the property ladder as rising interest rates and house prices continue to price them out of the market.

Halifax – Britain’s biggest mortgage lender – yesterday released figures revealing house prices have risen 10.7% in the year to June, despite four interest rate rises since August. With a further rate rise anticipated today, innovative dotcom start-ups such as Humraz are looking to give struggling first time buyers a leg-up onto the property ladder.

Humraz will sell properties for less than 5% of their value through its ‘lowest unique bid’ auctions. The concept works by charging participants £3 for every bid submitted. This charge is pooled into a syndicate to cover the cost of the auction properties and deliver ‘status messages’, which give bidders guidance on the progress of their bids.

A £180k two bed flat in Woking is currently at Humraz auction. It will be sold for less than £9k.

Mother-of-three Asmat Monaghan, who devised the concept, has noticed a siege mentality amongst first-time buyers participating in the scheme. ‘Our bidders know only one person will win the auction, but from the emails we receive daily, there’s a real ‘we’re in it together’ camaraderie amongst first time buyers.

‘By bidding for the property, you contribute to the syndicate, help close the auction and give yourself a chance of buying a property for a fraction of its value. Also, lots of people recognise the potential for this model: in time we could auction several properties in this way concurrently.’

One Humraz user recently offered the following appraisal of the service: ‘I think Humraz is a brilliant idea (whether I win or not). As a teacher living near Gatwick I can only dream of ever getting on the housing ladder. That your site will make a few people able to do so who might not otherwise is a fine aim.’

For further information, images and interviews with Humraz directors and participants, please contact:

Sami McCabe
m: +44 (0) 7789 777 440
t: +44 (0) 20 8849 8180
f: +44 (0) 20 8899 6001
e: sami@ubiquitycomms.com

Editors’ Notes:

• ‘Humraz’ is an anagram of Asmat Monaghan’s daughters’ initials
• Bids are placed via SMS, online and post: there is no premium rate telephone line.
• A soon as the auction closes there are no further bids accepted
• After every auction, the equivalent of an estate agent’s fee (2.5% of a property’s market value) will be donated to Warchild UK, the charity dedicated to young victims of armed conflict
• All properties at auction are owned by Humraz’s directors

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